I recently decided to add a loft to my small early learning space. A loft is a significant purchase for me, not only financially, but also in the use of space. This is a fairly permanent installment, a major commitment. So what led me here?
The children that I teach range in age from 12 months to 5 years. Many of them are fascinated with hiding and peeking. They love to build houses, beds and caves out of pillows, cushions, play silks and cloths. They return to this over and over. I think that it must be somewhat empowering, being able to disappear and reappear at will. I have wondered for many months now if a loft might help to satisfy this interest. Not only could they hide below, but above as well. They could peek at each other between the slats. I am curious about how the added dimension of above and below might impact their experimentation and play?
These children also love to climb. Up on tables, the backs of couches, shelves… not always where I feel comfortable with them climbing. Again, I think that being up high must feel empowering to them. It is, after all, where the ever so powerful adults often hang out. There’s also an added element of challenge and potential danger to being up high (how exciting!). A loft may satisfy these needs also, for climbing and access to a higher vantage point.
I like to create a space that invites young children to explore, create, experiment and take risks, build confidence and independence. For us, I believe that a loft fits that description. Part of what I love about the idea of a loft is that it is simple and open ended and yet lends itself to such potentially complex play. I can envision castles, pirate ships, bear caves, rabbit dens, also a place to peek out the window, wave goodbye as Mom or Dad leave for work, watch the seasons change in the garden, observe the birds and squirrels busily moving about, hunting for seeds and insects. I see a lot of potential, added value that may evolve and grow over time. I think it’s a good choice, an exciting one!
Now that the decision has been made, we wait ever so patiently for its arrival and I wonder, where it will lead us?